It's the writing on the wall: Whiteboards improve inpatient satisfaction with provider communication

Am J Med Qual. Mar-Apr 2011;26(2):127-31. doi: 10.1177/1062860610376088. Epub 2010 Sep 24.


Although keeping patients informed is a part of quality hospital care, inpatients often report they are not well informed. The authors placed whiteboards in each patient room on medicine wards in their hospital and asked nurses and physicians to use them to improve communication with inpatients. The authors then examined the effect of these whiteboards by comparing satisfaction with communication of patients discharged from medical wards before and after whiteboards were placed to satisfaction with communication of patients from surgical wards that did not have whiteboards. Patient satisfaction scores (0-100 scale) with communication improved significantly on medicine wards: nurse communication (+6.4, P < .001), physician communication (+4.0, P = .04), and involvement in decision making (+6.3, P = .002). Patient satisfaction scores did not change significantly on surgical wards. There was no secular trend, and the authors excluded a trend in overall patient satisfaction. Whiteboards could be a simple and effective tool to increase inpatient satisfaction with communication.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiovisual Aids*
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Midwestern United States
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*